A Bismuth Germanate (BGO) 'veto' shield surrounds on five faces the detector planes of the IBIS instrument on-board the satellite INTEGRAL (INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory). The Veto System provides anti-coincidence signals to the two imager layers covering the energy range from 20 keV to 10 MeV. The area to be shielded is about 8000 cm2, and with a shield thickness of 20 mm, this leads to a total BGO crystal weight of about 115 kg. This paper describes the shield design, and how some scientific and engineering requirements are implemented. Also results from tests with the Engineering Model are presented. Particular emphasis is given to the electronic signal chain, and its response to overload particles, mainly high energy protons, expected in the INTEGRAL orbit (Elliptic Earth Orbit with 72 h period). The overload response has been studied in detail both with a built-in Light Emitting Diode (LED) in the laboratory, and at a proton beam facility. Based on the lab measurements the expected blinding of the shield in-orbit is around 1%. This is obtained with a simple, but optimized chain, consisting of a front-end amplifier and a bi-polar shaper, that provides input to the trigger generator. Results from beam tests with proton energies from 60 to 300 MeV are reported, and it is demonstrated that the proton pulses in terms of amplitude, shape and duration are very similar to the simulated ones, and thus confirm the expected system response.